Twenty-five actors have been nominated for either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for their work in movie musicals. Of those 25 actors, seven have gone on to win. Please take a look above at our photo gallery of winners and nominees above.
For the purposes of this gallery we’re considering actors from more traditional musicals in which the songs help tell the story, as opposed to biopics of famous musicians like “Ray” (starring Oscar winner Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles) and “Walk the Line” (starring Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash), in which the songs arise largely in the context of concert and recording studio scenes.
While “La La Land” is the projected frontrunner to win Best Picture at the Oscars, Ryan Gosling faces an uphill climb if he’s going to win Best Actor. It’s been 44 years since Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) won Best Supporting Actor and 52 years since Rex Harrison (“My Fair Lady”) won Best Actor.
At the Critics’ Choice Awards, Gosling was bested by Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”). Gosling came back to win Best Film Comedy/Musical Actor at the Golden Globes, where Affleck competed as a dramatic actor. But when you combine both dramatic and comedy/musical performances at the SAG Awards and Oscars Gosling drops to third place behind Affleck, and Denzel Washington (“Fences”).
Since musicals made a comeback in the 2000s two actors have competed in the Best Actor race. Johnny Depp played the murderous “Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in “Sweeney Todd” (2007). Depp won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical Actor. But Depp had his naysayers and was snubbed by both the SAG and BAFTA Awards. It probably wouldn’t have made much difference either way since he was up against the overwhelming favorite and eventual Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”).
If anyone had the pedigree to add their name to the list of musical Oscar winners it was Hugh Jackman, a past Tony winner (“The Boy From Oz,” 2004) and a known song-and-dance man in a beloved musical (“Les Miserables,” 2012). In one of the most competitive Oscar seasons to date Jackman won Best Comedy/Musical Actor at the Globes. But when dramatic and comedy/musical performances went head-to-head he would lose the SAG Award, BAFTA and Oscar to another performance by Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”). Luckily for Gosling, Day-Lewis doesn’t have a film in competition this year.
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